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$70 million EDGE District project faces city review

Margie Manning

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A conceptual rendering showing the view of Belpointe's planned project from 1st Avenue North (Humphreys & Partners Architects)

The St. Petersburg City Council is scheduled to take a key vote next week on a mixed-use development that supporters say will be a prime location for residents and visitors interested in a car-free lifestyle.

The project, at 1000 1st Ave. N. in the EDGE District, will improve the walkability of 1st Avenue North and Baum Avenue, while capitalizing on the SunRunner bus rapid transit system, according to a site plan review. SunRunner stops are planned at the blocks on either side of the project, each stop less than a fifth of a mile away.

A site plan review shows the Belpointe project proximity to SunRunner stops.

Belpointe, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based developer, wants to build two 15-story buildings with a total of 254 apartments, as well as 21,463-square-feet of commercial space and a 380-space parking garage.

The commercial space will be on the ground floor, fronting both Baum and 1st Avenue North. The second through fourth floors will include parking. The fifth through 15th floor of each tower will be devoted to one, two and three-bedroom residential units. A deck at level 15 will offer unobstructed views of St. Petersburg, the site plan review said.

A conceptual rendering of the project as seen from Baum Avenue. (Humphreys & Partners Architects)

The 1st Avenue North streetscape (Humphreys & Partners Architects)

The project is valued at $70 million, according to the review.

Belpointe has been acquiring the land on the south side of 1st Avenue North for the project for the past several months. In late October, the company paid $12 million for several parcels from Jonathan Daou, a major property owner in the EDGE District. Belpointe added to its area holdings in March, when it acquired the building at 900 1st Ave. N. that houses a popular restaurant, Engine No. 9, and the Blue Goose, a bar. That building, at the east end of the block, will be retained to maintain harmony with the character of the area and preserve its artistic and unique architecture, according to the site plan review.

The west end of the block is expected to include The Metro, a seven-story, 100-unit studio apartment building being developed by DevMar, a Birmingham, Michigan-based real estate development firm. A memo to the St. Petersburg City Council said The Metro is a $9.5 million project. Mark DeMaria, CEO at DevMar Development, said the project is valued at $20.2 million.

Belpointe also is proposing a pocket park on Baum Avenue, near the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, that would provide a gathering space and a transition from the developments on the west end of the EDGE District. The pocket park will include an homage to the former Shirley Ann Hotel at 936 1st Ave. N. The hotel, which has been vacant for at least three years, was potentially eligible to qualify as a local landmark, but the previous owner did not pursue that designation, the site plan review said.

The site plan review does not include planned rental rates for the apartments. However, it said that in order to qualify for a density bonus, Belpointe would pay into a city fund for development of workforce housing.

The City Council, meeting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, is scheduled to vote May 6 on whether the project is consistent with the Intown West Redevelopment Plan, a plan that is designed to capitalize on the opportunities generated by Tropicana Field. The city’s staff is recommending approval.

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    Richard Ulrich

    April 30, 2021at8:24 pm

    None of the proposed projects have clearly defined “worker affordable” or “workforce affordable”. Without actual rent pricing for these terms, they are meaningless. How about a mixture of affordable housing for all?

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